Patch's Poll: Should New York City Ban Large Sugary Drinks?

The New York City Board of Health approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed ban on soda and sugary drinks over 16 ounces. It will take effect in six months.

When New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed banning large sodas and other sugary drinks from city food carts, restaurants and movie theaters, an outcry erupted, and it wasn't only from the companies that make soda. It was also from those who believe that individuals should be responsible for the choices they make when it comes to a legal product.

Ultimately, the New York City Board of Health agreed with Bloomberg this week that public health concerns about obesity outweigh, so to speak, an individual's desire to consume a bucket of soda.

The New York Times reported Thursday that the policy will go into effect in six months unless a judge blocks it. The soft drink industry has vowed to continue its fight in the courts.

According to the New York Times, the policy will affect any sweetened drink in a container larger than 16 ounces, including non-diet soda, energy drinks and sweetened iced teas.

"The restrictions would not affect fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; no-calorie diet sodas would not be affected, but establishments with self-service drink fountains, like many fast-food restaurants, would not be allowed to stock cups larger than 16 ounces," the Times wrote.

Movies theaters and stadium concession stands would be affected, but grocery stores and convenience stores — including 7-Elevens, which sell the Big Gulp — would be exempt, along with vending machines and some newsstands.

Where do you stand on the issue? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

Bill Eccles September 14, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Isn't this a jobs initiative? I'd bet that the cup and straw manufacturers are delighted for the extra business. And just think of all the extra garbage that will have to be collected! w00t!
Mark Kalina September 14, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I drink very little in the way of sodas, so I have no dogs in the game. That said, Bloomberg is foolish to think he is going to change people's habits because he thinks he knows better. Folks will just order two or more drinks... Better yet, a business may have special offers when you buy more than one.
Steven Jones September 15, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Well, it's only for select groups, so the city isn't doing a total ban on sizes. Anyone who wants a large size can get it if they want. But all you really have to do is watch Super Size Me, and read basic nutrition articles to understand this isn't a 'I know better than you' policy. For many overweight and obese Americans, their personal choice becomes our public cost when they decide (or cannot afford) healthcare, but eat foods that have been scientifically proven and culturally advertised to be unhealthy if eaten beyond the limited/occasional level of intake. Most people aren't getting the largest size available. But those people who do not have health care (and most likely are lower income) are more likely to buy the largest because it is the cheapest. But when they get sick, they can apply and receive 'free' surgery and medication for serious health conditions like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, thyroid issues, and so much more. Ultimately, these costs are our burden, and our duty to care about. If one city in the U.S. (remember this folks) wants to ban large sizes and results in even one less person coming in for 'free' health care because of obesity related ilnnesses, I say good to them for trying to change something rather than letting the fructose fly (just as L.A. County has done with restaurant health code grades on restaurants windows). And if it fails, we know it doesn't work and it doesn't become a national or multi-city policy.
John Dolle September 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM
I frequent New York during the week for business purposes. The concession businesses are concerned the ban will eventually be extended to beer consumers at sporting events. The cup manufacturing lobby is now poised to challenge the ruling. Penalizing the cup manufacturers is a thought not considered. The cup size ban intrudes on their profits of the manufacturer.
Jim G. September 15, 2012 at 11:19 PM
This line of thinking gets into the generic argument that you can't change anything because it might have a negative effect on someone - which is rarely a valid argument, just an obstructionist one. I doubt cup manufacturers will be affected to any significant degree by the change. It's a stupid law, possibly with good intentions at its core, but not one that can be meaningfully sustained. Simply selling two medium drinks gets around it (and makes the cup manufacturers happy at the same time...) It will be gone or a dead law within a year.


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